Dartmouth Tragedy (MacEdward Leach)

In the town of Dartmouth, as ye soon shall hear,
Of a wealthy squire who did live there;
He reared one daughter, a beauty bright,
In her father's coach boy she took great delight.

As she went walking one day alone,
To her love, Johnny, she made sad moan;
Sayin', "John, dear John,
no longer can I come see you,
But my mind to thee I must now reveal."

"Lady fair, make no mark of me,
For I'm your coach boy of a low degree."
"No mark at all, John, shall I make of thee,
But my mind in earnest I will tell quite free."

Her old father in ambush lay,
Hearing now what his daughter did say;
Sayin', "Daughter, daughter, go as you please,
You may change your notes but I know your plan."

She threw herself on her bended knees,
Saying, "Cruel father, do as you please;
No other young man could I ever love more,
Than your darling coach boy whom I do adore."

Her old father, as you soon shall hear,
He called his servant for to appear;
He paid his wages without a frown,
This young man's heart filled up
and the tears rolled down.

He had been scarcely two miles from the town,
When a sergeant's press-gang did him surround;
Out of a pocket took a diamond ring,
And a gay gold watch which he knew nothing.

To Dartmouth jail this young man was sent,
Where he lay in grief and sad discontent;
Where he lay in grief, as ye soon shall hear,
Till the day of his trial it would draw near.

Her old father as you soon shall hear,
He called his daughter for to appear;
Sayin', "Daughter, daughter,
won't you come and see,
Your darling's dying on the gallows tree."

It was a sad and a dismal sight,
To see this young man dressed all in white;
With a smiling countenance he thus replied,
"May I kiss my darling before I die?"

Her old father knew what was her plan,
For she held a penknife pressed in her hand;
You're welcome to share the smart,
It was with a penknife he pierced her heart.

As she lay bleeding in her gore,
Sayin', "Cruelest father, you could do no more;
You broke the hearts that were longing so,
And she closed her eyes and said no more."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional Irish ballad, The Little Penknife, widely sung in the Castlederg Aghyarn area ....####

Collected in 1951 from Nicholas (Nick) Davis [1914-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1958 from Emerson Woodstock of Peterborough, Ontario, and published as #80, The Footboy, by Edith Fowke (editor) with Keith MacMillan (music consultant) in The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (1973)


Index Page
GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here